By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
Kirk Harryman will return as the Joplin Eagles softball coach this fall.
Harryman, who also is Joplin’s baseball coach, led the Eagles softball squad for 10 seasons before stepping down two years ago.
“Coach (athletics director Jeff) Starkweather came to me and asked if I would be interested,” Harryman said. “I went ahead and put my name in the hat after visiting with my family and my wife and doing a lot of thinking and praying about it. I thought it was going to be a good fit. I enjoy competing and getting kids ready to play.”
Harryman directed the Eagles to a 179-110 record during his 10 years as coach from 2001-2010. Even more impressive, Joplin was 76-10 in the Ozark Conference over that span, with five of the losses coming in one season. Harryman led the team to eight conference championships.
Joplin won district championships in 2004 and 2007 under Harryman. The 2004 team lost to Jefferson City in the quarterfinals.
“We are excited to have Coach Harryman back leading our softball program,” Starkweather said in a news release. “He has a proven track record and with the talent this team has coming back, we feel very good about the future of Joplin Lady Eagles softball.”
Harryman replaces Shally Lundien, who directed the Eagles to an 11-17 record in 2012. Lundien resigned to concentrate on her duties as assistant principal at Joplin South Middle School.
Bruce VonderHaar was 14-15 as the coach in 2011.
Over the years, Harryman has coached softball, baseball, football and basketball at Joplin. During college, he was a pitcher for Missouri Southern. He is a 1991 graduate of Neosho High School.
Harryman said he is ready to get back to coaching softball again.
“I felt like it was a great opportunity for myself, and I’m excited about the opportunity to work with the girls,” he said.